Tuesday, April 28, 2015

He Won His Battle But We Lost Our War

She came into the equation before I even was able to acknowledge that she had. She quietly creeped into our relationship like it was a cracked door just waiting to be pushed open. She gradually took him away from me. I never even saw it coming; things just changed. I became the after thought while she directed his every move. I couldn't compete with her. She was alluring, powerful, and controlling. She was Depression, and I couldn't stop her from taking him away.

I still don't really know the whole story, and I know I never will, but I do know that depression effects more than just the person who suffers from it. My ex and I most definitely had a rocky relationship, but his depression made it all the more unmanageable. For a long time I tried to convince him that he needed help, and for a long time he ignored me and the same problems persisted. Sleeping through dates, skipping class, mood swings, poor health habits... Eventually it all became too much.

I couldn't sit by and watch the person I loved fall apart and not be able to do anything about it. When I met him he wasn't depressed; he was a happy, healthy, funny, charming, responsible, and driven college kid. As our relationship progressed I felt more and more responsible for the changes in his behavior. Believe it or not, things did improve toward the end. We started getting along better and he started being more like himself, but it just wasn't enough.

I had lost myself in his battle. I was so caught up in the fight that I forgot what I had been fighting for in the first place. And the resentment I had toward him overruled all of the love that had once been there and took it's place. All of the responsibility I had placed upon myself to care for him eventually took it's toll. I couldn't save him anymore; I needed to save myself.

I still battle, even today, with what happened while we were together. I don't know if I'll ever be the same person again; his depression changed me. At some point during the process, I wrote the following poem:

I would trade a forever alone for one more day of you and me
I'd give up my smile if it meant I'd see yours again
The real one, not the one you wear to try and hide your pain
I would take every breath and breathe it into your lungs
If it meant that you would start to live again
I would take every selfish thought and set it aside for you
I just wish I knew what you've been thinking
While you've been living life as someone else
Who did I fall in love with? Who has that man become?
I wish I could erase my memory even if it meant losing the good ones
At least then I wouldn't have to remember you as a liar
At least then I wouldn't fear that our love is a lie too
I would give every day I've spent with you up
If it meant you could be who you were before
If it meant you could be happy again, motivated again
The truth is I'm not strong enough to tell you this
I'm not strong enough to let you go
But deep down I'm afraid it might be the only way
Deep down I'm scared to death of losing you 
But even more scared to keep you 
What do I do anymore? Shh, keep quiet
My worries will only wake you
My confusion will only make matters worse
The silence feels worse when you're alone
Fighting a battle you didn't ask for; a war you didn't want to wage
But you chose your army, you chose the silence for yourself
You chose the secrets and the solitude
And in the end we all suffer
In the end I had to spill your lips for you to save you
But there was a piece of me who did it for myself
A piece of me who was sick of the secrets, the lies
I would not take it back if I could
So ask yourself, who did you fall in love with? 
Who has that woman become? 
Ask me yourself and I still couldn't tell you
I lost myself in your silence, I died fighting your war
And here I sit, still quietly fighting back
With words that will most likely remain unread
Like the thoughts you've locked away in your mind
Like the drive to live happily that you've so easily ignored
I remain ignored, I remain unhappy and locked away
But am I the one keeping myself there? 
I remain lost, I remain confused
Yet I still remain silent though I know words have always saved me
Why have I become like you? Afraid to speak
And even more afraid of what might be said in response
I used to be stronger than this
Who am I? What happened to that girl?
I will not fight for you anymore
I will not be your prisoner, forced to fight when you feel weak
I will stand you up and make you fight with me
I will not let you cower in a corner
I will not develop your bad habits or let yours remain
I will not remain silent
I will not choose secrets and solitude
I love you, I will always love you
But I can not promise you that if our love is your anchor
Holding you here in this place where you've fallen
That I won't let you go, because I will
I will only be your anchor if I'm keeping you safe
Keeping you held in a place where you know love
A place where you know happiness and motivation
I will help you through this
Even if it means I have to let you go

I didn't know when I wrote this that I was helping the man I loved fight through depression, but I know now. Finding this poem in my journal really helped me create the bridge between how I was feeling and the knowledge that he in-fact had depression. Gradually I realized that although I had been the one to help him through it didn't mean that I was the one meant to be with him thereafter. And I am happy to say that although our relationship didn't survive the process, he is surviving depression, and that is still something I couldn't be more thankful for.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Thank You for Being a Friend

As the end of the school year is approaching, I just want to take a second while I have all this energy from caffeine to thank a few people who have really been there for me this year. I know this won't be a comprehensive list, so if I forgot you I give you permission to write a nasty blog about me.

To my IATG girls: You ladies are the reason I am standing here today as a confident, passionate, and inspired woman. Each and every one of you has helped me become such a strong person and I honestly could not have done it without all of you.

To Shannon Gardner: Thank you for teaching me to embrace my womanhood and enabling me to embrace other women. You have inspired me in more ways than you know and I have no idea where I'd be without you. I could go on for days about you - but I'll just keep it at that. Love you.

To Liz Lyle & Hannah Russell: For the last 8 months you have put up with me and I am so thankful. Thank you for listening to me complain, letting me vent endlessly, and for pulling my head out of my ass when I think a douche bag is a nice boy (and for still loving me when I don't listen). You guys are such lovely human beings. And Liz, thanks for making my bed sometimes and being my mom even though I want to hit you for it at times. Hannah, thanks for always saying "Go to bed, girl!" when I complain about being tired. Oh, and for bringing home muffins from work.

To Jocelyn Smith: In the short amount of time I have gotten to know you, I am so thankful to have you in my life. You're so adventurous and crazy, and I love that about you. I am so sad that you are graduating, but I am also beyond excited to see where your passion takes you.

To Melanie Hlahol: We both know I could go on and on so I'll keep this short. You're always there to bring my head back down from the clouds and make me stop over-thinking things. You are such an amazing support system and I am so thankful to have you in my life.

To my homies Jamison, Karebear, and Kates: Thank you for making this long distance friendship thing so worthwhile. I love seeing your beautiful faces when I come home and I hope to soon see them here in Columbus visiting my ass. Love you all.

To my family (and that includes you too, Don & Brian!): Thank you for always driving my ass back and forth from Columbus. Erin, thank you for taking care of me when I was sick - I don't think it was just the tea that did the trick, but also a little sisterly TLC. Brian, thank you for treating me as if I am your own little sister. Jarrod and Colin, thanks for being the best pains in the ass a girl could have for brothers. Mom and Don, ya'll know you're the best so I really don't need to go on for days about that.

To my McFam: You guys have been there for me so much these last few years and I don't know if I would have survived work (or life) without you. You guys make pouring coffee refills and bagging food a good time. I'm going to miss all of you dearly this summer.

To anyone else who has crossed my path this year: Thank you for helping shape me into who I am meant to be, teaching me lessons, and for making this year of college my best one yet.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Insecurities Are Flammable

When you break up with someone and you let them go, eventually you realize all of the things you were missing - all of the things you wanted, but just weren't getting. The problem is the time that spans between that realization and when you actually find what you're looking for can really break you down. What creates an even more painful situation is witnessing the person you let go willingly give all the things they claimed they couldn't give to you to someone else.

The worst part is up until this point you felt like you took out the trash, but now you realize that trash is now someone else's treasure as it once was yours too. You find yourself staring at pictures wondering what she has that you don't, wondering what makes him want to give her all of those things that for you were just empty promises. You begin to question why you ever broke things off and you might even want to tell him how you're feeling.

You forget the fact that your relationship ended for a reason. You forget all of the things he did wrong because right now all you can do is miss the things he did right once in a while. The thought of someone else being in his arms makes you cringe, but you forget that's the very same cringe that made you leave when you realized how blind you'd been. You blame the struggle you've had finding something meaningful on this false hope that maybe what you had with him had been your something meaningful all along.

But the truth is you have no right to impede on his happiness. You can have as many opinions and reservations about it as you'd like, but you don't sit in a place that has any right to share them. You gave up; you let him go. And even if you have your reasons, no matter how great they may be, there will still be days when you fall back to old habits sometimes and miss those brief moments when he wasn't letting you down. But unless you plan on rekindling and maintaining the fire, step away from the matches.

Those days of insecurity are your matches. Those moments when you feel like begging him not to move on and to still hold you in his heart are the most flammable of all. But do him and yourself a favor - don't light that fire unless it's one you don't plan to put out. The truth is right now your life is just experiencing a drought - you're feeling lonely and you know he would be there if you asked him to stay. But once it passes and you have enough water - enough security in who you are and what you want - we both know exactly what's going to happen to that fire. And that boy may never see it coming and it may cost him the only person whose made him happy since losing you.